Junior guard Denzel Ingram scored eight of his game-high 17 points in overtime to propel league-leading UNCW past defensive-minded College of Charleston 59-55 in the final road game of the season for the Seahawks on Saturday at TD Arena
The Seahawks, 21-6 and 13-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association, completed a sweep of the Cougars and finished the regular season with an 8-5 record away from home.
“I’m excited about getting the win,” said Kevin Keatts, UNCW’s second-year head coach. “It was a great game and we battled. To be a championship team, you have to win all types of games. I thought that to come into Charleston and play the best defensive team in the league, we’d have to be the better defensive team.”
Ingram, the team’s second leading scorer, had just four points at halftime and did most of the damage for the Seahawks at the free throw line, connecting on all 10 of his charity attempts with six clutch free throws in the final 44 seconds. Senior guard Craig Ponder added 15 points and sophomore playmaker Jordon Talley had 12 for the Seahawks.
It was UNCW’s 12th win in the last 13 contests and their sixth in a row over the Cougars. The Seahawks have not lost to second-year CofC skipper Earl Grant in five meetings.
The Seahawks controlled most of the game before the Cougars rallied to tie the score in the final minute of regulation. UNCW then missed an opportunity to claim the win in regulation, forcing UNCW’s second overtime game of the season.
Ingram helped the Seahawks gain some distance in the extra frame with a fade away jumper at the 2:08 mark, while Ponder drained a pair of free throws to give the Seahawks a four-point edge with under two minutes left to play.
“Denzel stepped up to the line and played big,” added Keatts. “It showed he’s in great shape. He made plays down the stretch and was special tonight when we were struggling.”
The Seahawks return to Trask Coliseum for their final two games of the regular season, beginning on Thursday with a 7 p.m. matchup with Hofstra.